Become a CASA

The first step on your journey to becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate is to
download our application

Download this ODFJS Central Registry Request You need to fill out this form to request ODFJS to check your name against "Central Registry", a database that looks for any referrals or complaints about child abuse and neglect. Once you receive these results, please give them to the CASA office. You cannot be Sworn In as a CASA volunteer until these results are obtained. Because this process can take 6 weeks to process, please fill out this form ASAP.

GAL Annual Compliance Statement

Make sure you have turned in your compliance statement for this year. The Annual Compliance form is made available to you on our website for your convenience. Please click on the link and start filling out the PDF to register your annual compliance Annual Compliance Form

Become a GAL

To become a Guardian ad litem for the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court, attorneys must attend New Guardian ad Litem Training (pre-service training), which the Guardian ad Litem Project offers. New GAL Training will be announced shortly. We hold this training cooperatively with the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court.

Once an attorney completes New Guardian ad Litem Training, the attorney must submit an
Attorney Information & Statement of Interest Form to the Guardian ad Litem Project.

216-443-3377 | | 9300 Quincy Avenue, Cleveland OH 44106

gallogox32.pngGuardians ad litem (GAL) promote proficient and skillful representation of the interests of children and others before the Juvenile Court, to vindicate their rights, and achieve their best interests as valued members of our community.

About Guardian ad litem for Children

Formation of the Guardian ad Litem for Children Project

In 1975, amendments to O.R.C. 2151.281 and the Ohio Rules of Juvenile Procedure required the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem in all child abuse and neglect cases, as well as in other cases in which there was a parent/child conflict, where the child had no parent, where the parent was a minor or appeared to be mentally incompetent, or where appointment was otherwise necessary to insure a fair hearing.

Even then, although Ohio law did not require that a Guardian ad Litem be an attorney, Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court did, and still does require that a Guardian ad Litem or GAL be an attorney. As a result of these legislative and judicial mandates, in 1975, Cleveland's Federation for Community Planning organized the Council on Children at Risk to address the problems of child abuse and neglect in Cuyahoga County. The Council's legal committee, which included attorneys in private practice, social workers, the director of the Juvenile Court's Legal Department and attorneys from the Welfare Department's legal department, identified a serious problem in the juvenile court early in 1977. In 1976, the court heard about 300 child abuse and neglect cases. It had a pool of thirty (30) lawyers from which it could draw to represent the children. The list was dwindling, and the representation was becoming perfunctory. The Council decided to recruit and train one hundred (100) lawyers in private practice to serve children at risk as court-appointed Guardians ad Litem. (“Family Law“, TRIAL, April, 1980)

original_logo.pngThus, the Guardian ad Litem Project was created. The first orientation was held on February 20, 1978. The GAL Project continued sponsorship under the Federation for Community Planning and was funded by the George Gund Foundation for two years. As the GAL Project evolved, the general consensus became that the Guardian ad Litem Project's sponsorship should be transferred from the Federation to the Young Lawyer's Section of the Cuyahoga County Bar Association. The idea behind the transfer was that selection and training of court appointed counsel is properly a function of the Court and the local bar. The Cuyahoga County Bar Association sponsored the Guardian ad Litem Project since 1980. The GAL Project eventually secured its funding from Cuyahoga County in 1983.

In March 2008, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (CMBA), formed by the consolidation of the Cleveland Bar and Cuyahoga County Bar Associations, became the sponsoring organization for the Guardian ad Litem Project.